Gene flow contributes to diversification of the major fungal pathogen Candida albicans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Jeanne Ropars
  • Corinne Maufrais
  • Dorothée Diogo
  • Marina Marcet-Houben
  • Aurélie Perin
  • Natacha Sertour
  • Kevin Mosca
  • Emmanuelle Permal
  • Guillaume Laval
  • Christiane Bouchier
  • Laurence Ma
  • Katja Schwartz
  • Julie Poulain
  • Christophe Battail
  • Patrick Wincker
  • Andrew M Borman
  • Anuradha Chowdhary
  • Shangrong Fan
  • Soo Hyun Kim
  • Patrice Le Pape
  • Orazio Romeo
  • Jong Hee Shin
  • Toni Gabaldon
  • Gavin Sherlock
  • Marie-Elisabeth Bougnoux
  • Christophe d'Enfert

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Ecologie Systematique et Evolution, CNRS, Univ. Paris Sud, AgroParisTech, Université Paris Saclay, 91405, Orsay cedex, France.
  • Center for Bioinformatics, BioStatistics and Integrative Biology (C3BI), USR 3756 IP CNRS, Institut Pasteur, 75015, Paris, France.
  • Department of Mycology, Fungal Biology and Pathogenicity Unit, Institut Pasteur, INRA, 75015, Paris, France.
  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), 08002, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Department of Genomes and Genetics, Human Evolutionary Genetics Unit, UMR 2000 CNRS, Institut Pasteur, 75015, Paris, France.
  • Biomics Pole, CITECH, Institut Pasteur, 75015, Paris, France.
  • Department of Genetics, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, CA, 94305-5120, USA.
  • Institute of Microbiology and Infection, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, U.K.
  • Univ. Evry, Univ. Paris-Saclay, 91000, Evry, France.
  • CEA, Genoscope, Institut de biologie François Jacob, 91000, Evry, France.
  • UK National Mycology Reference Laboratory, Public Health England, Bristol, BS2 8EL, UK.
  • Department of Medical Mycology, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, Dehli, 110007, India.
  • Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking University Shenzhen Hospital, PR Guangdong Sheng, 518036, China.
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, 61469, South Korea.
  • EA1155 - IICiMed, Institut de Recherche en Santé 2, Université de Nantes, 44200, Nantes, France.
  • IRCCS - Centro Neurolesi Bonino-Pulejo, 98124, Messina, Italy.
  • Centre de Recerca Matemàtica, Edifici C, Campus de Bellaterra, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain; Departament de Matemàtiques, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain; ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain; Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics (BGSMath), Barcelona, Spain.
  • Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris-Cité, 75006, Paris, France.
  • Department of Mycology, Fungal Biology and Pathogenicity Unit, Institut Pasteur, INRA, 75015, Paris, France.


Elucidating population structure and levels of genetic diversity and recombination is necessary to understand the evolution and adaptation of species. Candida albicans is the second most frequent agent of human fungal infections worldwide, causing high-mortality rates. Here we present the genomic sequences of 182 C. albicans isolates collected worldwide, including commensal isolates, as well as ones responsible for superficial and invasive infections, constituting the largest dataset to date for this major fungal pathogen. Although, C. albicans shows a predominantly clonal population structure, we find evidence of gene flow between previously known and newly identified genetic clusters, supporting the occurrence of (para)sexuality in nature. A highly clonal lineage, which experimentally shows reduced fitness, has undergone pseudogenization in genes required for virulence and morphogenesis, which may explain its niche restriction. Candida albicans thus takes advantage of both clonality and gene flow to diversify.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2253
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2018


  • Microbial genetics, Pathogens, Population genetics